The Annual 2012

School of Visual Arts

Waves of Influence

Art Brewer

In June 2012, the SVA Gallery unveiled “Art Brewer: Surf Evolution,” a retrospective exhibition of the work of Art Brewer, an accomplished photographer who has been called “the court painter” of the world’s surfing elite. Co-curated by photographers Malcolm Lightner and Michelle Mercurio, both SVA faculty members, the exhibition was presented by the College’s Arts Abroad program, for which Brewer teaches a course called Action Surf Photography. The course is held in Rincón, Puerto Rico, a well-known surfing destination on the western coast of the island.

In the run-up to the show, the written tributes to Brewer sprang up not just in specialized blogs like Liquid Salt Magazine and Surfline but also on ESPN and Photo District News (PDN) online.’s Alex French says:

According to the ‘Encyclopedia of Surfing,’ Brewer was [Surfer] magazine’s dominant photographer, shooting six out of nine of the magazine’s covers during one stretch in 1970 and early 1971. Even if surf photography isn’t your thing, you’ve probably still seen some of Brewer’s iconic portraits and action shots: Kelly Slater killing some deep dish and a strawberry daiquiri; Herbie Fletcher in an impossible stretch five at Freight Trains; Barry Kanaiaupuni straight-legging a bottom turn at Sunset. Photos so rich, evocative and technically perfect that they’ve been described as ‘portals to a vastly improved universe.’

On June 8, the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan will open that portal up to the public with a two-week-long exhibition of 158 of Brewer’s action shots, portraits, and landscape photographers taken between 1960 and the present. The exhibition, ‘Art Brewer: Surf Evolution,’ will include a number of never-before-exhibited works.

Brewer told ESPN online’s Jon Coen:

It’s an honor to have been invited to put together this retrospective by the School of Visual Arts. I’ve spent 40-plus years taking pictures of surfing, and usually it’s just surfers that see them, but to be able to put so many of my images in front of a different audience, and hopefully inspire the next generation to do something creative, it’s a real treat.

Surfing: Art Brewer Has Seen It All

Go Check Out Art